Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses (ANAD). People pay more attention to the increasing rate of obesity in our country than they do the rapidly growing number of people suffering daily from anorexia nervosa. Could this be due to the fact that being skinny is "right" so therefore it is commonly overlooked? In the United States, twenty million women suffer or have suffered from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa, an eating disorder that causes people to lose more weight than what is healthy for their age and height (Board 1). It is a very dangerous illness with many contributing social factors. This disease comes with many psychological and physical symptoms which severely impact one's physical condition, as well as mental health.
The media holds a significant influence in the desire to be thin. Each year, there are hundreds of broadcasted fashion shows with the nation's skinniest and "most fit" models. The "Victoria's Secret Angels" are often described as being some of the most beautiful. This year's Victoria's Secret Fashion show was the top rated among all young adults on all major networks with 9.71 million viewers (ABC News 1). What's wonderful about these influential models are that all of them are underweight, and most fit the body mass index for being anorexic. According to ABC News, twenty years ago the average model was 8 percent underweight; now the average is 23 percent. The broadcasted fashion shows aren't the only way that television broadcasts overly skinny woman. In a survey taken by Psychology Today, 3,542 women answered the question on whether or not television or movie celebrities influenced their body image when they were young; 23 percent answered yes (Thompson and Heiner 342). Another study found that less than 10 percent of female actresses are overweight, and that the majority of young women favor the thinner female characters (Thompson and Heinberg 341).